Why are you looking for love?

In Japan there’s a word “amae” (pronounced ah-mah-ay), which translates to “to be sweetly loved”. Amae love features being acknowledged, wanted, cherished, valued – validated. When you were born you experienced this unconditional amae love as a baby, as a young child, from your parents.
Then it fades and becomes conditional as you grew. You’ve searched for it ever since, trying and doing all sorts of things to obtain it, to be truly loved. 
In trying to relocate that amae, that true unconditional, love again we are often distracted. Myths, marketing and fairy tales about love send us off in the wrong direction. Consider the ideal that the naïve princess and handsome prince somehow come together to form the perfect couple that live together happily ever after, without any know-how as to how to do it and without any challenges or conflict. Such stories encourage us to place our happiness in the hands of another; encouraging dependency for women and creating expectations that most men find impossible to meet.
Then there are those times, as you try to find love through trial and error and where you thought you were experiencing love but ended-up experiencing pain; when so-called ‘love’ hurt so much that you just wanted it to stop, for the pain to go away. You took whatever path was available at the time; a path that may have taken you even further away from true love.
At least you have some friends to talk to about love. Friends allow you to be yourself, to discover yourself, to develop. Ideally, unlike most parents, who have an investment in their children achieving what they didn’t, your friends support you and what you seek to do – without imposing their own. This is why we like our friends so much, we feel we can express ourselves without judgement. 
You don’t just need friends to do this, this is what a potential partner should do to and for you. This is what you should be doing with your partner. If they, if you, do this for each other – support each other and encourage each other to be themselves  – you are likely to grow true love.